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November 2013

Calendar / News & Notes / Program / Board Books / Review


Upcoming Events for Children's Librarians

  • Fri, Dec 13, 2013     ACL Meeting      9 am         Oakland PL

  • Fri, Jan 10, 2014     ACL Meeting      9 am         Oakland PL

  • Jan 24-27, 2014     ALA Midwinter              Philadelphia, PA

  • Feb 1, 2014     Performer's Showcase              Fremont Main Library

  • Feb 9, 2014     Distinguished Books Roundup              Peny Peck's house, San Lorenzo

  • Fri, Feb 14, 2014     ACL Meeting      9 am         Oakland PL


Author/Illustrator Ann Jonas Dies:
Ann Jonas, award-winning writer and illustrator of numerous children's books, died September 29, 2013 in Rhinebeck, NY. Between 1982 and 1999, Jonas created a total of 16 books for young readers, including The Quilt, (Greenwillow, 1984), Aardvarks, Disembark! (Greenwillow, 1990), and Bird Talk (Greenwillow Books, 1999). She is perhaps best known for Round Trip (Greenwillow, 1983), which was named an ALA Notable Book and a New York Times Best Illustrated Book.

After her early experience working in the graphic design field, Jonas was encouraged to try her hand at a children's book by publisher Susan Hirschman and her husband, the children's book illustrator Donald Crews. In 1982, she published her first book, When You Were a Baby (Greenwillow) under her maiden name. The book shows an infant's progress through various developmental stages.

Jonas was born on January 28, 1932, in Flushing, New York, to Herbert and Dorothy Jonas. She lived most of her childhood on Long Island. While attending Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, she met her husband, Donald Crews. The two were married in Germany on January 28, 1963, and had two daughters, Nina and Amy. The family lived in Greenwich Village and Brooklyn before moving to Germantown, NY in 1996. Jonas is survived by her husband, daughters, two sons-in-law, four grandchildren, and a brother.

New York Times Ten Best Illustrated Children's Books:
The New York Times Book Review announced its annual 10 Best Illustrated Children's Books on October 30, 2013. The list has been published since 1952, curated every year by a panel of three independent judges from the world of children's literature to honor picture books on the basis of artistic merit. This year's panel is composed of Caldecott medalist Brian Selznick;
SLJ blogger, author, and children's librarian Elizabeth Bird; and Steve Heller, longtime art director at The Times. Children's books editor for The New York Times Book Review Sarah Harrison Smith oversaw the panel.

The winning titles for 2013 are:

  • My Brothers Book by Maurice Sendak, HarperCollins
  • Ballad by Blexbolex, translated by Claudia Z. Bedrick, Enchanted Lion
  • Jemmy Button by Jennifer Uman and Valerio Vidali, Candlewick
  • The Dark by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Jon Klassen, Little, Brown
  • Holland by Charlotte Dematons, Lemniscaat
  • Journey by Aaron Becker, Candlewick
  • Fog Island by Tomi Ungerer, Phaidon
  • Jane, The Fox and Me by Fanny Britt, illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault, translated by Christelle Morelli and Susan Ouriou, Groundwood
  • Locomotive by Brian Floca, S & S
  • Nelson Mandelaby Kadir Nelson, HarperCollins

  • Canadian Children's Literature Awards:
    The winners of the 2013 Canadian Children's Literature Awards, presented by TD Bank Financial Group and the Canadian Children's Book Centre, were announced in October at an event in Toronto. British Columbian authors Polly Horvath and Elizabeth Stewart each took home two prizes.

    Horvath won the inaugural Fan Choice Award, presented by young contest winner Annaka Leib of Fort Qu'Appelle, Saskatchewan, and the $30,000 TD Canadian Children's Literature Award, the richest prize for Canadian children's literature. Horvath's middle-grade novel, One Year in Coal Harbour(Groundwood Books) follows the wise and curious heroine Primrose Squarp, the protagonist of Horvath's 2002 Newbery Honor winner Everything on a Waffle.

    Elizabeth Stewart took home the John Spray Mystery Award and the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People for The Lynching of Louie Sam, published by Annick Press. The novel was inspired by the true story of a young member of the Stó:l? tribe, "a travesty that happened to a young First Nations boy 130 years ago," Stewart said. The author was awarded $5,000 for each prize.

    The $20,000 Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award went to author Cary Fagan and illustrator Dušan Petri?i? for Mr. Zinger's Hat, published by Tundra Books.

    Deborah Ellis, also a Groundwood author, took home the $10,000 Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children's Non fiction for Kids of Kabul: Living Bravely Through a Never-Ending War.

    The $5,000 Monica Hughes Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy was awarded to another B.C. author, Rachel Hartman, for her debut novel Seraphina

    Pop-up and Flap Books

    Litton, Jonathan. Mesmerizing Math. Illus. by Thomas Flintham. Templar/Candlewick, 2013. 16p. $18.99. ISBN 978-0-7636-6881-5.
    Full of small pop-ups, booklets, games, pullouts, and other movable elements, this look at math factoids includes quite a bit of information for an introductory book. Although this won't help anyone with a homework assignment, it will inspire readers to seek more information, and to see math as a "fun" topic to explore. The colorful, busy layout encourages readers to flit from topic to topic, whether it is Fibonacci, Pascal's Triangle, probabilities, shapes and angles, prime numbers, or tessellation. Because many of the popup elements are delicate, and there are some tear-out portions including two 3-D dice shapes, this may be better suited to a classroom library.

    Horacek, Petr. Animal Opposites: a Pop-up Book. Candlewick, 2013. 20p. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-7636-6776-4.
    Eleven pairs of animals - "a still sloth, bouncy kangaroo" and others demonstrate the concept of opposites in this delightful pop-up book. From a fat pig and a thin meercat, to a small ladybug and a big elephant, Horacek features both domestic animals as well as jungle and wild animals. The text only contains the descriptive word and the animal name, making this a very brief and easy to read pop-up book. The full color paintings used for the illustrations depict the animals realistically, not "cute," combining foldouts and pop-ups, giving the book a dynamic 3-D effect. Because the pop-ups really "pop," this is unlikely to hold up to library circulation. It would be a great addition to a noncirculating collection of pop-up books, used for storytime or for in-house library use.

    Nieminen, Lotta. Walk This World: A Celebration of Life in a Day. Big Picture/Candlewick, 2013. 22p. $17.99, ISBN 978-0-7636-6895-2.
    In many ways, this book could appeal to adults as well as children, because there is a sophisticated quality to the full color graphics artwork, and a guessing-game element to the book. Each spread is a different city, with a simple two sentence rhyming clue as to its location. There are also small flaps that open, like little doors in an Advent calendar, which reveal more clues. For example, one spread shows Big Ben, a red telephone both, a door that opens on Sherlock Holmes, and a few other clues that help the reader guess this is London. Each spread is done in the same graphic style, but with different details, so it gives a unity to the world and avoids stereotyping. The subtle message that people are the same throughout the world is welcome. There is no answer key but most children old enough to read the text will be able to guess what city or country is depicted, with the flags and signage giving clues. The small flaps and thick pasteboard pages should hold up well to library circulation.

    Dodd, Emma. Baby and Me. Nosy Crow/Candlewick, 2013. 10p. $14.99. ISBN 978-0-7636-6544-9.
    A little girl describes the activities she does with her baby doll, such as bathing her, changing her diaper, and so forth, all in preparation to help her mommy with the new baby. Although there are no true "pop-ups," there are several tactile elements such as the cloth blanket embedded into the page, and pull tabs that rock the cradle or move the rubber ducky. The pastel shades of the cartoonish illustrations are pleasant, but overall, the tone is very old fashioned. How about reading to the new baby, or doing something other than traditional domestic chores?

    Professional Reading

    Gonzalez, Lisa Sanchez.. The Stories I Read to the Children: The Life and Writing of Pura Belpre, the Legendary Storyteller, Children's Author, and New York Public Librarian. . Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College of the City University of New York, 2013. 285p. $24.99. ISBN 978-1878483805.

    Renowned children's librarian, storyteller, and advocate for library service to Latino children, Pura Belpre is the focus of this academic study that will be of interest to children's librarians. The writing style is somewhat formal; this is not a light biography by any means, but is backed with clear factual information as well as a passion for the subject.

    Gonzalez begins with a relatively brief (about 60 page) biography on Belpre, from what few facts are available about her youth in Puerto Rico, to her life in New York City, and her career as a children's librarian. The latter portion of this biographical essay talks about her publishing career and importance to the field of Latin American folklore for children, and bilingual education and library service to children. There is also a small but helpful section of b&w photos of Belpre and her friends and family.

    The biographical information is helpful in setting up the thesis that Belpre's work had a very positive influence on both librarians and publishers recognizing the importance of serving the Latino youth population, in both English and Spanish. Gonzalez has copious footnotes at the back of the book, as well as index, glossary, and long list of works cited.

    The biographical essay is followed by two sections of stories written by Belpre, both published and unpublished. The bulk of these are folktales from Latin America, although Belpre didn't include sources notes. The footnotes for these sections give Belpre's original publication information, or in the case of the unpublished works, some research notes on where Belpre found the tale. Both of these sections will be helpful to librarians and professional storytellers who want to adapt these for library performances or puppet shows, as the stories are aimed at young listeners.

    The first story is probably the best-known: "Perez and Martina," but there are many more that children will appreciate include a few versions featuring the Juan Bobo character. Most are two or three pages long, making them just the right length to adapt for a performance.

    The final section has an intriguing selection of unpublished essays by Belpre. Many read like speeches for a library or teacher conference, or articles for a children's library or literature journal. She discusses her work as a children's librarian and author serving Latino and African-American children, her interest in bilingual education, and other subjects that are still relevant today. These essays show that not much has changed in the 40 years since they were written; we still see too few non-Caucasian main characters in books for children, as seen in recent studies by Lee and Low Books and others.

    All children's librarians will find this useful, but those of us in California should seek this out. We serve a large Latino population, and even though more of our youth are from Mexican-American families and not Puerto Rico, most of the same issues apply. Plus, the stories Belpre wrote come from various parts of Latin America (not just Puerto Rico) and will be fun for all listeners as they are great stories.

    Muldrow, Diane. Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Little Golden Book. Golden Book, 2013. 96p. $9.99. ISBN 978-0-307-97761-8.

    Already on the bestsellers' lists, this whimsical book for adults features illustrations from various old Little Golden Books. Many baby-boomers will recognize these illustrations, and have fun with the premise. Muldrow has written a brief inspirational essay on life that begins "Is your life starting to feel like a circus? Don't panic…Today's a new day!" Each phrase or sentence is set onto an old "Golden Book" illustration that seems to match the phrase's sentiment. For example, a picture from The Poky Little Puppy is accompanied by the phrase "but remember to stop and smell the strawberries," which is exactly what the puppy is doing.

    This would be a great gift to a children's librarian or preschool or Kindergarten teacher. The sentiment is very suitable for overworked, busy, multitasking working parents - almost a book version of a pep talk. But the illustrations will remind readers of the distinguished illustrators of Little Golden Books, such as Mary Blair, Eloise Wilkin, Richard Scarry, Feodor Rojankovsky, Garth Williams, Gustaf Tenggren, the Provensens, and Leonard Wiesgard. Many of these artists went on to be Caldecott Medalists.

    In some ways, this is like a long greeting card, but the artwork and message is not as sentimental as many greeting cards. So this is a nice, small gift book for anyone who likes children's literature. And it reminds readers that back in the day, some of the Little Golden Books were quite well done, with distinctive, accomplished illustrations, and with stories with plenty of child appeal (and by some great authors like Margaret Wise Brown).

    BayNews needs you! BayNews welcomes any articles, news, ideas on storytime or programs, etc. Just send any articles as a Word attachment to email, to Penny Peck at [email protected]. Thanks!

    Submitted by : Penny Peck

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